Jake Ryan: 2015 Packers Player Report Card
- Age: 23
- Ht./Wt: 6’2″,240lbs
- College: Michigan
- NFL Experience: Rookie
Expectations coming into the season: Normally,a rookie middle linebacker selected in the fourth round of the draft wouldn’t generate much buzz. But since the Packers inside linebacker situation has been so dismal in recent seasons,Ryan managed to get a little more attention than the usual obscure mid-round pick. I don’t think he was expected to be a savior inside,but he was expected to contribute and provide hope for the future.
Player’s highlights/low-lights: Would you believe me if I told you that Jake Ryan’s tackles per snap (5.8) were more than twice the rate of Clay Matthews? Well,it’s true. That’s an obvious highlight. Ryan’s lowlight came in week 16 against Arizona where he looked totally overmatched in space against any Arizona offensive player he was asked to cover or tackle. Getting back to the highlights,Ryan looked much better during the playoff re-match with Arizona,notching five solo tackles.
Level of Expectations met: It took a while,but Ryan eventually got his shot. He didn’t make Packers fans forget about all the struggles the team has had at middle linebacker,but he did do some nice things. Is Ryan the answer for the Packers at middle linebacker? Not by himself. Can he be part of the solution inside that allows Matthews to move back outside? I think so. That’s hardly high praise,but it’s a step in the right direction.
Player’s contributions to team success: There weren’t any games where we said to ourselves,”Man,Jake Ryan sure dominated today.” There also weren’t many instances where we threw things at our television sets following another Ryan blunder. After Nate Palmer spun his wheels and Joe Thomas didn’t appear to be an every-down player,Ryan at least showed he belonged when he finally was given the opportunity. Is Ryan’s ceiling higher than simply a player who belongs? I don’t think so,but you’re not going to have an All-Pro at every position. For a kid in his first season on a team desperate for inside linebacker help,just showing you belonged is pretty damn good.
Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Ryan totaled 11 tackles in two playoff games and only got burned badly once in pass coverage (early in the Arizona game,Carson Palmer overthrew the receiver). Much like he did in the regular season,Ryan was solid,but unspectacular.
Intangibles/misc: We’ll know more about Ryan’s intangibles when training camp opens this summer. Ryan’s going to need a little time in the weight room to help him better shed blocks. He also could benefit from impact training that helps him become more explosive in tight spaces. To this fan’s eye,nothing appeared to be wrong with Ryan’s attitude or preparedness,but I think Ryan’s true test when it comes to intangibles is happening now as he prepares for the 2016 season. Will he put in the time to take the next step?